Trevor Graham-Wilcox, Redwoods Lead Teacher
Trevor has a passion for deepening our connection to the world and taking on meaningful challenges. This stemmed largely from his seven years as a director and facilitator at an outdoor education center and summer camp in the mountains of San Diego County. It was there he learned to appreciate the point of view of children and work to support their growth as unique human beings on this awesome planet. In teaching he finds that each day is packed with opportunities to explore our minds, bodies and hearts. Trevor earned his B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and has his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He loves playing and writing music, running while listening to podcasts, and bike rides to Mexican restaurants with his son, Jude, and wife, Ashley.
Seth Rogers, Nature Growers Lead Teacher
Seth Rogers is an educator, writer, and publisher. He is an experienced advocate for the community-based model of education. As a teacher in New York, he loved finding the way to inspire learning through local business studies, community events, and field trips to local landmarks. Upon moving to California, Seth worked in Educational Publishing, but soon realized the need to be contributing to his community in the classroom setting. Seth is a graduate of SUNY-Cortland with over 13 years of learning with students of all ages.
Kelsey Smith, Field Day & Tutoring
For the last five years, Kelsey has been a lead teacher at Alta Vista CDC. She was born and raised in the South Bay graduated from Redondo Union High School in 2008 (Go Seahawks!). She studied Non-Profit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University and was an active member of their Best Buddies International Collegiate Chapter. Shortly after the birth of her (TKG student) daughter, she made the decision to move back home to continue her studies in Child Development at Los Angeles Harbor College and American Sign Language at El Camino College. She is certified in Nonviolent Communication (Compassionate Parenting), Adult/Child/Infant CPR First Aid, and AED. Kelsey holds a child development teaching permit with the State of California through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Before working at Alta Vista CDC, she was a preschool teacher at Riviera Playschool in Redondo Beach.
Noelle Isenberg, Acorn Teacher (Fall 2020)
Noelle was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii where the sunshine and sea sink under the skin and the meaning of aloha is embedded in her heart. In 2005, she graduated with her MFA in Theatre from the University of Hawaii and has been working with children ever since. From a young age, Noelle knew she wanted to make a difference in this world and has found that calling through teaching. She has taught musical theatre, creative drama, Kindermusik, environmental education and preschool.
For over twenty years, Noelle has had the privilege of working with children. Her roots run strong in the arts and has been successfully incorporating the arts into the classroom, creating an enchanting atmosphere in which children, teachers and parents are united and grow together as a classroom community. The arts are very significant to Noelle and she has passed on her knowledge to teachers and schools via arts integration in the classroom and curriculum. Working in an artistically rich environment with children is one of the most rewarding experiences for her because she’s able to witness pure joy and self discovery that happens when a child is left to express themselves in whatever medium they choose and connect with. In recent years, Noelle has been an advocate for quality outdoor experiences in nature with children. She’s passionate about environmental education and being a steward for the protection of our natural resources and our Earth. She believes it is of the utmost importance that children are allowed to connect and make meaningful connections with nature and have an adult who can guide and encourage them to find discovery and excitement in our natural world. Noelle is thrilled to be a part of the TKG family and the connection the school has to the Wilderness Park.
Noelle is passionate about providing opportunities for children to make meaningful connections to the world, maintain a love of learning, use their sense of wonder to formulate questions and make discoveries on their own, and incorporate the arts as a vessel for some of this leaning.
Noelle’s teaching path has lead her to wonderful schools influenced by Reggio Emilia and has seen first hand the positive effects this philosophy has on children. They are able to grow and learn in an environment that nurtures the whole child. An environment like the one here at TKG that is stimulating and creative, that allows the children to explore and discover themselves and where they fit in this great big world of ours.
Leadership & Business
Trish Valdez, Interim Executive Director & Co-Founder
Trish Valdez was inspired to start TKG when she felt stuck between choosing between “we’re doing the best we can” and “you can’t afford it.” Thinking that a different, innovative and student-centered choice should be available to more families and unwilling to accept the status quo, she began to create opportunities for like-minded parents to help build the vision that was the foundation for TKG. Funneling her skills as a student of sociology (UCLA ’96) and a marketing and PR executive with over 23 years of experience combined with her personal journey as a passionate parent of two boys (13 & 10) and first-generation citizen of the United States, she manages the business logistics & operations structure of our school.
Bria Biesmon-Simons, Bookkeeper
As the Bookkeeper at TKG, Bria helps run numbers for the school. Bria grew up in the South Bay and attended Scripps College in Claremont, California. She graduated summa cum laude, earning a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology and a minor in Latin American Studies. Bria also works for Peninsula School of Performing Arts and teaches ballet in Palos Verdes. Each summer, she runs the registration for 250 at risk kids to attend P.S. I Love You Foundation’s annual Day at the Beach Event. Bria is happy to be part of the TKG Community!
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